My gorgeous new customized industrial workspace. Read on to learn how to build your own.
I’ve had this post on my to-do list for a while. A chronic perfectionist, I wanted to share with you beautiful photographs, detailed instructions, and inspire all you DIYers to rush out to the plumbing section of your local hardware store ASAP. After days of procrastination turned into weeks, I decided it was better to be finished than be perfect, and the following is what I have the time and energy to share at the moment. Please just say the word if you want more detail on any of the steps!
I can’t take credit for this project. The inspiration? Yes. Tyler was the brains and brawn behind this series of tables, of which there are three. Starting with the coffee table, Tyler figured out the best way to construct a solid (but aesthetically pleasing) base out of metal pipe with the least amount of special work. I drew the shape of base I wanted. We researched common sizes of pipe and drew a diagram and parts list that would get us to a close approximation of my ideal. Pipes of 1/2″ and 3/4″ steel were bought at Home Depot, cleaned, and screwed together.
If you plan to replicate this project, bear in mind that this is the trickiest part. Unless you plan to get lengths of pipe custom cut and threaded (and even if you do that), you need to think through the order in which you screw things together. Righty tighty, lefty loosey. If you are not careful, you will end up in a strangely vicious circle as adding pieces can undo earlier work. We used a product called JB Weld to give extra stability to our metal parts. We didn’t want to leave a chance for our hard work to unscrew itself! After we adhered the joints to each other with this welding compound, Tyler sanded off the excess JB Weld, sanded the base lightly, and spray painted the entire thing matte black. If you want a truly “rough” look you could leave the pieces “as is”.
We had a piece of oak plywood cut for the top (because it was IMPOSSIBLE to find a reclaimed piece of wood locally the size we needed — and sourcing it elsewhere got us quotes in the several hundreds of dollars) and then Tyler used a miter saw to create trim that gave the top a more substantial look and feel. He used wood glue and a generous number of nails to affix the trim. After pre-drilling holes where screws would attach the top to the flanges capping the base, the top was sanded, stained (I helped!), and protected with three (or was it four?) layers of sealant. I was in charge of sealing and I used a new (to me) product that claimed to eliminate the need to sand between coats. That stuff was powerful. I felt like I was in a nail polish version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Be careful of those fumes! Tyler says I coughed for days in my sleep afterward, so maybe we shouldn’t buy this again. After a few days of drying, the table was ready for use!
For the desk pieces, we used the leftover cuts of the same sheet of plywood we used for the coffee table and a similar pattern for the base. I designed a two-piece workspace that included a long, somewhat shallow computer desk and a short wheeled accessory table. I LOVE having two tables. They are the same depth and I feel like I have infinite configurations at hand. Cart under the table, cart perpendicular to the table, cart beside the table, cart across the room… You get the idea.
Under the desk is mounted a wooden box (Hobby Lobby=$3) stained the same color as the table, drilled with holes, that keeps excess cable length off the floor.
Coffee Table Base: 100
Desk Base: 75
Cart Base: 60
Plywood Tops: 40
JB Weld, Sandpaper, Stain, Varnish, Trim, etc.: 60
It wasn’t a “cheap” project, but I got a custom coffee table, desk, and cart out of the deal. I love the dimensions and the finishes — and I love that I can feel the care and ingenuity my husband put into building these pieces every time I use them.
I sincerely apologize for the bad pictures – and one day these beauties will get glamour shots that show you how awesome they are- but I did want to share what has been a very big project for us over the past few months.